Everyone needs to turn that radio dial to WRIR 97.3 FM tomorrow from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper of The Splendid Table
does a live, call-in show every Thanksgiving to help the desperate cooks of America. Special guests this year include Christopher Kimball and Nora Ephron! For more information, here's a link to to everything you need to know about Lynne's Turkey Confidential 2008.
I know, I know, you don't want one more thing to do this week in order to prepare for Thanksgiving. I get it, I really do.
This post is, in fact, for all of the guests that might be attending someone else's big holiday production. I automatically assume you probably won't appreciate all the work that your host has put into pulling off this amazing turkey feast you'll no doubt scarf down without a second thought (except for maybe, "Where's the TV? Is the game on?"). All guests are fundamentally ungrateful.
You've probably been assigned to bring something, but it never hurts to bring a little something extra, a little hostess gift, or a little addendum to the cheese platter. New York's Union Square Cafe
came up with these brazen little nuts, shot through with rosemary, sweetened and salted, and hiding a late-arriving punch of spice. They take about, oh, two minutes to put together and then another ten in the oven. Let them cool, put them in a nice glass jar, and you will obtain concrete evidence that food really is the way to win friends and influence your enemies. Isn't that what Thanksgiving's all about?
2 1/4 cups (18-ounces) assorted unsalted nuts, or if you're discerning like me, pecans only 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons Maldon or other sea salt
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, smoked paprika, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter.
Toss the nuts with the buttery spices to coat thoroughly and spread them out on a
baking sheet. Toast in the oven until golden brown, about 10
minutes. WATCH THEM CAREFULLY! Once they cool, the hard part will be keeping these out of your mouth and in the jar where they belong. I recommend sticking them into the freezer until you're ready to leave the house to discourage uncontrollable snacking.
Here's a link that should be bookmarked permanently on everyone's holiday browser: Cutting Through Holiday Jams With Etiquette as Your G.P.S. All of you poor, poor souls* hosting this year's Thanksgiving extravaganza should read it very carefully and perhaps "accidentally" send it to all of your guests.
Here's my favorite rule: Guests should always ask to bring a dish, but respect the host when he
or she declines the offer. If you are assigned a dish you don’t want to
make, too bad. Negotiating with someone who just invited you to dinner
is not cool.
Although this one is a close second: If your brother’s ex-wife’s oldest son’s
new girlfriend is making you feel edgy, or if someone is mouthing off
about politics, it is acceptable to excuse yourself politely and take a
little walk or see if you can help in the kitchen. Yelling, “I hate
you!” and running from the table crying is not appropriate.
You can find more helpful tips here (although you'll just have to make up your own mind about a couple of inconsistencies between the two lists):CHOW'S 10 Party Preparation Tips.
I would also add that Xanax is always an appropriate hostess gift. That tip doesn't appear on either list.
Calvin Trillin does an exhaustive dissection of the state of barbecue in Texas in today's New Yorker. "Although I grew up in Kansas City, which has a completely different
style of barbecue," Trillin writes, "I have always kept more or less au courant of Texas
barbecue, like a sports fan who is almost monomaniacally obsessed with
basketball but glances over at the N.H.L. standings now and then just
to see how things are going." Can't you see why my love of good barbecue is only exceeded by my love of Calvin Trillin?
You can also ask him questions he'll answer over the next week here.
In the same issue, Jane Kramer writes a detailed profile of Jeff Alford and Naomi Duguid, whose award-winning cookbook, Hot Sour Salty Sweet, has both inspired me with its spectacular photos and also nearly decapitated me falling off of the shelf in my kitchen. In her piece entitled, “The Hungry Travellers," Kramer writes that “while their books are undeniably cookbooks, they are also cultural encounters—travel journals, stories, history lessons, and photographic essays that, taken together, explore the imagination and the exigencies that produce a cuisine and, in many ways, deﬁne the people who create it.”